The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement
1.1 Canada and Ontario recognize that settlement services are an important factor in the successful social and economic integration of immigrants in Ontario. Effective integration contributes to Canada and Ontario’s social cohesion and economic growth, and supports the full participation of immigrants in all aspects of life in Ontario.
1.2 Canada and Ontario agree to develop a collaborative planning, priority setting and evaluation process for federal and provincial settlement services and funding in Ontario. This collaboration shall take into account Ontario’s specific needs and circumstances as well as Canada’s commitment to developing national standards and to ensuring comparable services for settlement nationally.
1.3 Canada and Ontario agree to work collaboratively to harmonize the following elements of their respective settlement programs: the federal Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) “A”, and the provincial Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP). This initiative will explore a co-ordinated, common approach to providing services that are responsive to immigrants’ needs and delivered efficiently and effectively.
1.4 The goal of Canada and Ontario’s collaboration is to achieve a seamless, coordinated settlement services delivery system with clear pathways to language training and labour market integration services, and to increase access to the types of services that will help new immigrants integrate socially and economically.
1.5 Canada and Ontario agree that municipalities and community stakeholders play an important role in the planning and delivery of local settlement and integration services.
2.1 For the purpose of this Annex, “settlement services” includes:
- the range of current services that help eligible immigrants adapt to life in Canada and Ontario, as outlined in section 6.4.1 of the General Provisions;
- pre-arrival and orientation services, as outlined in section 6.3.1 of the General Provisions, to the extent that they are applicable in Ontario;
- any new or expanded services and initiatives designed to address emerging needs. These services and initiatives may include: pre-arrival services; initiatives to improve coordination of settlement service delivery; specialized services to support the integration of protected persons and Convention refugees resettled from abroad; services to support the integration of business immigrants; and initiatives to foster community engagement in the planning and delivery of settlement services.
2.2 For the purpose of this Annex, “settlement services” does not include language training or labour market integration services, with the exception of orientation to the Ontario labour market and job search assistance.
2.3 “Community engagement” initiatives include: regional/municipal efforts to facilitate local input and innovation, and generate resources to address local integration challenges; welcoming community initiatives; and internet initiatives that support regional immigrant attraction, integration and retention.
2.4 For the purpose of harmonizing Canada’s and Ontario’s respective programs, ISAP “A” and NSP, “eligible immigrants” refers to eligible clients as defined in the criteria of these programs.
3.1 Establish and implement a collaborative Canada-Ontario settlement planning process, taking into account changing arrival patterns, to determine service priorities and evaluate results, in accordance with section 4 of this Annex.
3.2 Explore ways to harmonize delivery of Canada and Ontario’s respective settlement programs to eliminate duplication, simplify administrative processes for participating agencies, and respond to emerging needs, in accordance with section 5 of this Annex.
4.0 Collaborative settlement planning
4.1 Canada and Ontario agree to develop and implement a four-year strategy for settlement service delivery, with stakeholder input. The primary objectives of the plan will be to:
- establish a flexible service delivery model that addresses current and emerging needs;
- ensure seamless, coordinated settlement service delivery that is linked to language training and labour market integration services;
- improve access to services;
- foster community engagement in meeting the challenges of local integration needs;
- develop desired outcomes and performance measures.
4.2 Canada and Ontario agree to establish a Working Group, in accordance with section 7.1.5 of the General Provisions, to oversee the planning and evaluation of settlement service delivery in Ontario. The Working Group will meet on an as needed basis and report at least twice a year to the Management Committee created under section 7.1.2. of the General Provisions,
4.3 The responsibilities of the Canada-Ontario Settlement Working Group include:
- overseeing the development and implementation of a four-year settlement services strategy (2006-07 to 2009-10) for settlement service delivery in Ontario, and conducting an evaluation in the final year (2009-10) of the strategy;
- identifying emerging needs and service gaps;
- ensuring that settlement services are coordinated, and linked with language training/assessment services and with labour market integration services;
- facilitating harmonization of provincially and federally funded settlement services;
- establishing annual priorities, in consultation, for the utilization of federal and provincial settlement funds, in accordance with section 8.0 of the General Provisions;
- overseeing the development of desired annual outcomes, performance measures, public reporting of results, and the related research and data requirements, in accordance with section 7.2 of the General Provisions;
- consulting with key settlement stakeholders, according to a consultation process to be approved by the Management Committee.
4.4 Canada and Ontario agree that the development and implementation of the four-year strategy must support the successful social and economic integration of newcomers in Ontario, as the longer-term outcome of settlement services provision. Medium-term outcomes and related performance measures developed for the strategy may include:
- improved quality of settlement services;
- greater variety of services to meet a broad spectrum of needs;
- enhanced capacity to provide effective referral to community services, language training and assessment, and labour market integration services;
- increased community/municipal involvement in the planning and delivery of settlement services.
4.5 Implementation of the four-year strategy shall be based on the following timing:
- within 30 days of the signing of this Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, the Working Group will first meet to start developing terms of reference and a workplan, including the resources required to develop the strategy; at that time, the Working Group will also identify, in consultation, priorities for the utilization of federal and provincial settlement funding for 2005-06, to the extent that such funding has not already been allocated;
- within 60 days of the first meeting of the Working Group, the terms of reference and workplan shall be submitted for approval to the Management Committee, which will refer the funding priorities to the Joint Steering Committee for confirmation at the earliest opportunity;
- the Working Group will meet as needed to ensure timely completion and regular updating of the strategy, with a supporting implementation schedule.
- the strategy, with its implementation schedule, is to be approved by the Joint Steering Committee by June 30, 2006, for implementation starting immediately thereafter;
- the strategy shall be updated annually as appropriate by the Working Group for subsequent review and approval, as required, by the Management Committee and the Joint Steering Committee.
5.0 Harmonization of ISAP “A” and NSP
5.1 Canada and Ontario agree to explore ways to harmonize delivery of their respective settlement programs, ISAP “A” and NSP. The objectives of this process are to:
- identify and eliminate any unnecessary duplication and overlap in program delivery;
- identify any gaps in programming and determine measures within existing program parameters to fill these gaps;
- achieve improved flexibility and responsiveness to emerging needs;
- facilitate stakeholder participation in the planning process;
- simplify the administrative process for settlement agencies;
- work towards the development of outcome measures that serve the needs of both NSP and ISAP “A”; and
5.2 In support of these objectives Canada and Ontario agree to review and address where possible the following priorities:
- planning and priority setting mechanisms;
- strategies for addressing differences in eligibility criteria;
- a combined application form for service delivery organizations as appropriate;
- common assessment criteria for agencies and monitoring tools;
- common output measurements in the short term and development of desired outcomes in the medium term, which support the successful social and economic integration of immigrants as the longer term outcome to be achieved.
5.3 The following outcomes are sought for the harmonization of federal-provincial settlement programs:
- settlement programming that improves responsiveness and adaptability to emerging and changing needs;
- a coordinated delivery process where initiatives, such as a combined application form and joint monitoring, will contribute to greater administrative efficiency for settlement agencies.
5.4 Work towards harmonizing federal-provincial settlement programs shall be based on the following timing:
Stage 1: By January 30, 2006
- Establish a sub-committee of the Canada-Ontario Settlement Working Group to oversee this initiative.
- Set priorities and develop a workplan for 2005-06.
- Determine opportunities for stakeholder engagement and communications needs.
Stage 2: By June 30, 2006
- Based on agreed-upon priorities and joint analysis, recommend specific initiatives to the Working Group and Management Committee for implementation in 2006-07.
- Undertake detailed planning to implement 2006-07 initiatives.
Stage 3: 2006-2007
- Implement 2006-07 initiatives.
- Review/update priorities and workplans for implementation in subsequent years.
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